CARLSBAD — Thousands of people will converge on Holiday Park on Oct. 7 to celebrate the 35th annual Oktoberfest organized by the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary and Carlsbad Rotary clubs.
The event runs from noon to 10 p.m. with dinner served until 8 p.m. A free shuttle service is available at The Shoppes at Carlsbad as 6,000 to 7,000 people are expected throughout the day.
Phil Urbina, co-chair of the event for the Hi-Noon club and Rotarian since 1985, said Oktoberfest has become a staple and community tradition.
“There’s lots of chicken dance, lots of dancing and lots of fun,” he said. “It’s like two events. During the day there’s more family and during the evening a more adult crowd. It has grown enormously and every penny we raise goes back into the community.”
Carlsbad’s version of celebrating German culture began as a fundraiser for Glen McComas, a Rotarian who was paralyzed in 1985 and needed a handicap accessible room built at his home.
Since then, the two clubs have continued the annual tradition, which has grown to include thousands of attendees per year and raised more than $1 million for local charities.
Urbina’s counterpart, Jeff Schafer, co-chair for the Carlsbad club, said the two groups work six months in advance to ensure every detail is covered. The event has also expanded offerings for kids as a way to become more family-friendly.
Schafer, who joined his club in 2009, and Urbina said bounce houses, face painters, pumpkin carving and painting plus much more have been included into the event to deliver a fun atmosphere for kids and their parents.
Schafer said the event has grown by 20 percent since he joined in 2009.
“Every year both clubs work together starting in March,” he added. “We put in a lot of person hours … getting the right permits, rentals, the entertainment lined up. It takes a lot of work to put together.”
Oktoberfest will feature live music and numerous contests such as best-dressed German boy and girl, fetching fraülein and masculine mann costume and yodeling.
Dancing and, of course, beer from several local breweries also highlight the event, from which the proceeds support local charities.
The music lineup, meanwhile, includes Rob the DJ, Faith Page, the Bluebirds and The Last Call.
Holiday Park is located between Chestnut and Pine avenues along Pio Pico just east of Interstate 5.
Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Kids 10 and older are $5, while kids under 10 are free. Dogs are not allowed unless they are certified service animals.
For more information about Oktoberfest or to buy tickets, visit www.rotaryoktoberfest.com.